Over $129 billion worth of New York City property at risk from flooding

East, Sustainability
Friday, October 31, 2014
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Lower Manhattan during Sandy. (Flickr / WarmSleepy)

Lower Manhattan during Sandy. (Flickr / WarmSleepy)

The New York City Comptroller’s office marked the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy with a dire report on the expected costs of the next big storm. Based on updated flood insurance maps from FEMA, the report finds that over $129 billion worth of property sits within the city’s 100-year floodplain – an increase of more than 120% from earlier maps. (100-year flood zones cover areas that have a 1% chance of flooding each year.) “In short, FEMA’s revised maps depict a greatly expanded floodplain that places almost three and a half times as many structures in high-risk zones and anticipates greater severity of flooding for those buildings already in the flood zone,” reads the report. “This new landscape holds important implications for resiliency investments, flood insurance, and the role of government in protecting homeowners from the next great storm.”

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With deal in place, Citi Bike system set to expand in 2015

City Terrain, East, Transportation, Urbanism
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
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Citi Bike dock in NYC. (Flickr / shinya)

Citi Bike dock in NYC. (Flickr / shinya)

It’s happening. After years of talks and reports, it’s actually, finally, in-paper, happening—Citi Bike is expanding. Tuesday, at the Queensbridge Houses in Queens, DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg announced that the system of 6,000 bikes will double by the end of 2017—putting 2,000 more bikes on the streets than initially envisioned when the program was launched. The news comes as Bikeshare Holdings, a private investment company headed by the CEOs of Equinox and Related Companies, acquires Alta Bicycle Share, which oversees Citi Bike, and other bikeshare programs around the world. As the Daily News first reported, former MTA Chairman Jay Walder will serve as Alta’s new CEO.

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Archtober Building of the Day #28> Snøhetta’s Times Square Reconstruction

Architecture, East
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
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(Courtesy Center for Architecture)

Archtober Building of the Day #28
Times Square Reconstruction
Broadway and Seventh Avenue (West 42nd to West 47th Streets)
Snøhetta

“Looking for calm within the chaos,” was how Nick Koster of Snøhetta, described the firm’s design for the Times Square Reconstruction. Just then a topless woman dressed as a super hero sashayed past the Archtober tour group, which contained about a dozen school children.

Continue reading after the jump.

Mayor de Blasio signs legislation to lower New York City’s default speed limit

Mayor de Blasio signing 25mph legislation. (NYC Mayor's Office)

Mayor de Blasio signing 25mph legislation. (NYC Mayor’s Office)

Mayor Bill de Blasio has signed legislation to lower New York City’s default speed limit from 30 miles per hour to 25. The measure was recently passed by the City Council and is one of the central policy pieces of Vision Zero—the mayor’s plan to eliminate traffic fatalities in the city.

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Archtober Building of the Day #27> Riverside Health Center by 1100 Architect

Architecture, East
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
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(Eve Dilworth Rosen)

Archtober Building of the Day #27
Riverside Health Center
160 West 100th Street
1100 Architect

Among my favorite things about Archtober are the enthusiasts who show up and add color and detail to the architects’ stories about their projects. Today, in addition to a solid performance by 1100 Architect’s Juergen Riehm and Dominic Griffin, we were amply blessed with a number of locals, or, as Winifred Armstrong self-described, “camp followers.” Sally Yap of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene also supplemented our understanding of this new renovation project.

Continue reading after the jump.

Archtober Building of the Day #26> SLO Architecture adds art to Middletown Road Station in the Bronx

Architecture, East
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
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(Julia Christie)

Archtober Building of the Day #26
Middletown Road Station
Middletown Road & Westchester Avenue, Bronx
SLO Architecture

The “steel river,” as Alexander Levi of SLO Architecture referred to the Pelham Line #6 train on last weekend’s Archtober tour, makes its way north towards Pelham Bay, crossing over four different waterways along its route. These bodies of water are cleaner now than they used to be, due in part to community-based efforts to clear unwanted debris and waste. As a result, plants and animals have returned to the area, and a feeling of pride has returned to the community. To uphold this stewardship and help maintain the waterways, Levi and Amanda Schachter of SLO designed Cross-Bronx Waterway for the Middletown Road Station, commissioned by MTA Arts & Design and chosen through a panel process.

Continue reading after the jump.

Archtober Building of the Day #24> Kings County Distillery at the Brooklyn Navy Yard

Architecture, East
Monday, October 27, 2014
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(Inbal Newman)

Archtober Building of the Day #24
Kings County Distillery
63 Flushing Avenue, Brooklyn
Kushner Studios

Three days of Archtober rain have finally given way to a chilly day washed clear—perfect weather for an adventure to the Brooklyn Navy Yard. A crowd of Archtober faithful was on hand (despite the conspicuous post-Heritage Ball hangover of the author) for a hair of the dog moment with Master Distiller Colin Spoelman and architect John Bedard at the Kings County Distillery.

Continue reading after the jump.

Archtober Building of the Day #23> NYU School of Professional Studies

Architecture, East
Monday, October 27, 2014
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(Melody Fernandez)

Archtober Building of the Day #23
NYU School of Professional Studies
7 East 12th Street
Mitchell | Giurgola Architects, LLP

A rainy day did not deter Archtober, and the hardy were amply rewarded with an up-to-the-minute view of an urban university hard at work. I want to change the name to “multi-versity” to capture the many different functions, schools, demographics, studies, and programs that the ever expanding universe of NYU now comprises. A recent addition is the newly renamed School of Professional Studies on 12th Street. Carol Loewenson and Stephen Dietz of Mitchell-Giurgola Architects, led the tour of the renovated Fairchild Printing Building. Projects like these—complex renovations where some operations must be maintained in place—require the steady, strong leadership of architects who find the puzzle of programmatic problem solving the bread and butter of successful practice.

Continue reading after the jump.

Pictorial> Inside the revamped UN Security Council Chamber

Security Council Table. (Henry Melcher / AN)

Security Council Table. (Henry Melcher / AN)

Wednesday afternoon, AN stepped inside the United Nations Security Council Chamber to see how the global institution had spruced the place up. No, we didn’t just walk in there—you can’t do that; it’s the UN. We were invited by the Royal Norwegian Consulate. Anyway, after a six-year renovation, which was part of the UN’s larger Capital Master Plan to renovate the entire East River campus, the truly awe-inspiring space has been returned to its original, mid-century glory. The chamber was gutted, upgraded, and then put back together with a few 21st Century bells and whistles thrown in—out with the ashtrays and in with the outlets!

Take a tour of the space after the jump.

Archtober Building of the Day #22> Jacob K. Javits Convention Center

Architecture, East
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
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(Courtesy Center for Architecture)

Archtober Building of the Day #22
Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
655 West 34th Street
FXFOWLE Epstein

Designed by Pei Cobb in the early 1980s, the Jacob K. Javits Center had fallen into a considerable slump in the years following its debut. Plagued with structural problems, today’s Archtober tour leader and head of the building’s extensive overhaul, Bruce Fowle, began in the center’s Crystal Palace by showing photos of the space before his firm’s massive undertaking. He highlighted two of the worst features of the original structure—the dirty, impossible-to-clean glass and extensive water damage. Almost immediately after opening, large canvas “diapers” were constructed to catch the ever-leaking roof, costing the center nearly one million dollars a year to alleviate the constant influx of water.

Continue reading after the jump.

Archtober Building of the Day #21> Runner & Stone Restaurant

Architecture, East, Interiors
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
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(Katie Mullen)

Archtober Building of the Day #21
Runner & Stone
285 Third Avenue
Latent Productions

Karla Rothstein and her partner Sal Perry are Latent Productions. They, along with Baker Peter Endriss served up a very nice helping of both delicious snacks and spiffy new architecture on yesterday’s Archtober tour. With a full tour of enthusiasts and architects, Karla and Sal described their self-initiated process of design, development, and construction management. They first prototyped, then fabricated the puffy custom concrete blocks that evoke the sacks of flour waiting to become bread that are the design hallmark of the restaurant, Runner & Stone, in Brooklyn.

Continue reading after the jump.

Archtober Building of the Day #20B> Donald Judd Home and Studio

Architecture, East, Interiors, Preservation
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
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(Joshua White / Judd Foundation Archives)

Archtober Building of the Day #20
Donald Judd Home and Studio
101 Spring Street
Architecture Research Office; Walter B. Melvin Architects

The Soho of the 1970s has come and gone, grungy artists’ studios replaced by glitzy storefronts and luxury condos. However, two decades after artist Donald Judd passed away in 1994, his presence still permeates 101 Spring Street. It’s in the nooks he carved out for his children and his books, his kitchenware and furniture, and, most of all, his art.

Continue reading after the jump.

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